Joseph Hazelwood, captain in Exxon Valdez spill, dead at 75

The Lengthy Island-based captain of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker that ran aground off Alaska in 1989, inflicting one of many worst environmental disasters within the nation’s historical past — has died, in keeping with experiences.

Joseph Hazelwood, who lived in Huntington, handed away in July at age 75 after battling most cancers and COVID-19, according to the New York Times.

The Exxon Valdez crashed on Alaska’s Bligh Reef on March 24, 1989, pumping roughly 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound.

A company tasked with assessing the crash’s impression discovered that it devastated wildlife within the space, killing practically 1 / 4 million seabirds — together with 22 killer whales and 250 bald eagles.

John Hazelwood
Former Exxon Valdez Capt. Joseph Hazelwood listens to testimony throughout his trial on costs associated to the ship’s huge oil spill.
Bettmann Archive

Hazelwood was charged with reckless endangerment, working a vessel whereas intoxicated and negligent discharge of oil within the wake of the crash.

Some witnesses mentioned they noticed him ingesting vodka on the ship’s bar earlier than the accident, whereas others didn’t recall him showing intoxicated or erratic.

Hazelwood was finally discovered responsible of negligent discharge of oil into state waters and acquitted of extra critical costs.

Exxon Valdez recovery
Restoration crews decide up useless sea otters alongside Inexperienced Island, Alaska, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, the worst oil spill in U.S. historical past.
Bettmann Archive

He was ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution and to carry out 1,000 hours of group service.

An Alaska jury awarded greater than 30,000 plaintiffs adversely impacted by the crash $5 billion in damages in 1994. The US Supreme Courtroom later lessened that determine to $507 million in 2008.

The catastrophe spurred the passage of the Oil Air pollution Act of 1990, which gave officers higher energy to reply to main spills.

Exxon Valdez tanker near Naked Island
Crude oil from the tanker Exxon Valdez swirls on the floor of Alaska’s Prince William Sound close to Bare Island on April 9, 1989.

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